Audio Review: The League of Beastly Dreadfuls

Time for another audio review!  This one is a mystery with a little horror, a little comedy, and a lot of action adventure!   It’s also the first book in a trilogy that promises to be a mix of A Series of Unfortunate Events and 39 Clues, with a sprinkling of The Little Princess, Charlie Bone, and Peppermints in the Parlor mixed in.  (If you don’t know any of those titles, check one or all of them out at the library as well!)

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league of beastly dreadfulsThe League of Beastly Dreadfuls
By Holly Grant, Read by Rosalyn Landor
6 Hours, 41 Minutes; 6 CDs

Anastasia McCrumpet is a perfectly ordinary 11 year old girl with almost ordinary parents.  (Mr. McCrumpet is pretty ordinary, though obsessed with plants; when they die, he holds funerals.  Mrs. McCrumpet is…not so ordinary.  But perhaps not in a good way.)  Anastasia loves both her parents, which is why she’s so upset when two great-aunts she never met show up at school to take her to their home, while her parents recover from a freak vacuum-cleaning accident at St. Shirley’s Hospital for the Seriously Mangled.  Auntie Prim and Auntie Prude whisk her away in their second-hand hearse without even a trip home for clothing or supplies.

Anastasia has serious qualms when she finds out the aunties live in in a Victorian mansion…or, to be absolutely correct, a former Victorian lunatic asylum–St. Agony’s Asylum for the Deranged, Despotic, Demented, and Otherwise Undesirable (That is to Say, Criminally Insane). Not only is the Asylum at the end of a deserted road and surrounded by a high iron fence, it’s also guarded by ferocious attack poodles, and has no electricity.   Aunt Prim and Aunt Prude, although they seem to be very sweet, lock her in her room every night, and she has to eat Mystery Lumps for breakfast, lunch and dinner…when she gets the last two meals.  Keeping a child is expensive, the aunties tell her, so she has to make some allowances.  And then the aunties tell her she has to live with them forever, as her parents are as dead as dormice.

Now an orphan, Anastasia is sunk in despair…but not so sunk that she doesn’t start wondering what is going on around her.  Isn’t it peculiar that the aunties have the same ring as the evil school secretary back at home?  Is the deranged teenage gardener with the silver cage on his head really chasing her, or is he only trying to talk to her?  And what is making that eerie EeeeooooEeeooooo sound in the night?

When Anastasia starts exploring St. Agony’s she finds secret rooms, hidden dumbwaiters and disguised speaking tubes, which lead to even more mysteries.  Why are there clippings of missing children in an empty desk?  Who are the strange women with uni-brows in the portrait hall, and why do some of them look familiar?  Most importantly, who are the deranged gardener and the boy trapped behind a mirror?  Eavesdropping might not be polite, but what can she learn from listening to the aunties secret discussions?   When Anastasia finds and reunites brothers Ollie and Quentin, both prisoners in separate areas of St. Agony’s, the three of them decide to work together.  Can the newly-named League of Beastly Dreadfuls find out what Prim and Prude are up to and escape the dire fate the two have in mind for them?

The League of Beastly Dreadfuls is one of those stories that is funny while it’s at its most perilous.  Anastasia takes everything coming at her with the utmost seriousness, even when a reader (or listener) knows that things are probably not exactly what they seem…

league of beastly dreadfuls soundThe sound recording of The League of Beastly Dreadfuls is absolutely wonderful!  It’s funny, scary and suspenseful, all in turns.  The reader, Rosalyn Landor, has a beautiful British accent, and her character voices are distinctive and perfectly narrated.  If you do listen to the sound recording, make sure to check out the print copy of the book as well; the illustrations by Josie Portillo are quirky and a wonderful addition to the text.

I highly recommend The League of Beastly Dreadfuls for kids in third through sixth grades to read; for listening, I think it would be accessible to kids ages 7 to 14;  older teens and adults would enjoy it for the storytelling.  Like the Series of Unfortunate Events, much of the humor is in the way the characters don’t recognize that their world is not quite as it seems to be…but the reader (or listener) can see what the characters might not.

Book Two in The League of Beastly Dreadfuls, The Dastardly Deed, came out this spring.  I haven’t read it yet, but I am looking forward to it!  If you would like other books or recordings that are similar to The League of Beastly Dreadfuls, try Caroline Carlson’s The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series, Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series, or The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series by Jordan Stratford.  As well as A Series of Unfortunate Events.

league of beastly dreadfuls 2 magic marks the spot alcatraz vs the evil librarians wollstonecraft detective agency series of unfortunate events

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As always, if you would like a personal recommendation or need help finding something to read or listen to, ask one of our librarians for assistance.  We’re always happy to help you find the perfect thing to read!

::Kelly::

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Booklist: Unlock a Secret…

A few days ago, I was putting away books and three in a row had keys on the cover.  Attractive keys, which I’d wear as jewelry!  Anyway, I started thinking about keys, and locks, and how they play into book titles and designs.   And a booklist was born!

So unlock the secret of these books.  Some are mysteries, some are romance, some are coming of age. But every single one of these books features locks or keys or secrets…and some have all three.  Check it out!

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Unlock a Secret…            
               Keys & Locks Booklist

brimstone keyBenz, Derek.  The Brimstone Key  –  Juvenile collection
A year ago, the Grey Griffins were just regular kids—but now they are monster-hunters, celebrated heroes, and allies to the legendary Templar knights.  But even heroes have to go to school. When the Griffins enroll at a school to train young recruits in the fight against the forces of evil, they find themselves at the center of a whole new adventure. The Clockwork King, a Templar foe from days past, has returned to finish the plan he set in motion decades ago.  Can the Griffins figure out a way to save their world…again?

lightning keyBerkeley, Jon.  The Lightning Key  – Juvenile collection
Now that Miles Wednesday has discovered his link to a magical Tiger’s Egg, he’s suddenly at the wheel of a great voyage. Determined to recover the stolen stone and free the trapped soul within, Miles sets off to release the Egg’s true power.  But along the way, his travels are quickly riddled with thrills and near catastrophes—from soaring across the sky in an airborne schooner to run-ins with the twisted circus ringmaster to a dark Sleep Angel. Will Miles crack the secrets of the Egg and stand up to the Realm in the face of grave danger?

unspokenBrennan, Sarah Rees.  Unspoken  – Teen collection
Kami Glass is in love with someone she’s never met—a boy she’s talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in her sleepy English town, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. When members of the Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago, return, suddenly there’s screaming in the woods and other mysterious problems. Now Kami can see that the town is hiding a multitude of dangerous secrets. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is definitely real, and deliciously dangerous.

bitterblueCashore, Kirstin.  Bitterblue  – Teen collection
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is queen. But the influence of her psychopathic  father Leuck lives on. Her advisorswant to pardon all and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle in disguise to see her city, she realizes that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

janitor's boyClements, Andrew.  Janitor’s Boy  – Juvenile collection
When Jack Rankin gets busted for defacing a school desk with a huge wad of disgusting watermelon bubble gum, the principal sentences him to three weeks of after-school gum cleanup for the chief custodian. The problem is, Jack’s anger at the chief custodian was the reason for his gum project in the first place. The chief custodian happens to be Jack’s dad. But doing time in the school basement after hours reveals some pretty surprising things: about the school, about Jack’s father, and about Jack himself.

keepers of the school 1Clements, Andrew.  The Keepers of the School  Juvenile collection
Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. But Ben thinks it would be better if it  just stayed as is. It is over 200 years old and sits right on the harbor, with ocean breezes and million dollar views.  After a chance—and final—run-in with the school janitor, Ben starts to discover that these views have a lot to do with the deal to sell the property. As much as the town wants to believe it, the school does not belong to the local government. It belongs to the CHILDREN and they have the right to defend it! With Ben in charge, they will!

dark is risingCooper, Susan.  The Dark is Rising –  Juvenile  & Teen collections
On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift;  he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest to find the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.

9780142414729_LockAndKey_CV.inddDessen, Sarah.  Lock and KeyTeen collection 
Ruby is used to taking care of herself. But now she’s living in a fancy new house with the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years. She’s attending private school, wearing new clothes, and for the first time, looking forward to a future that includes college and her family. So why is she so wary? And what is her adorable neighbor Nate hiding behind his genial nature? As Ruby starts to see, there’s a big difference between being given help, and being able to accept it. And sometimes, in order to save yourself, you’ve got to reach out to someone else.

IncarceronFisher, Catherine.  Incarceron  – Teen collection
Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains cells and corridors, metal forests, dilapidated cities, and wildernesses. Sealed for centuries, only one man has ever escaped. Finn is a prisoner there. Although he has no memory of his childhood, he is sure he came from Outside. His link to the Outside, his chance to break free, is Claudia, the warden’s daughter, herself determined to escape an arranged marriage. They are up against impossible odds, but one thing looms above all: Incarceron is alive.

change the locksFrench, Simon.  Change the Locks –  Juvenile collection
Steven has vague and disturbing memories of being left alone on a road in the middle of nowhere when he was young, but his mother continually avoids answering his questions about their earlier life in an Australian city. Hoping to piece together the fragmented pictures of his childhood, Steven discovers an old newspaper clipping and photograph that forces him to confront the truth about his father’s abandonment, his mother’s struggles, and his own feelings.

joey pigzaGantos, Jack.  Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key –  Juvenile & Teen collections
Joey Pigza’s got heart, he’s got a mom who loves him, and he’s got “dud meds,”–the pills that are supposed to even out his mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn’t stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot – and eventually he bounces himself all the way downtown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.

the keyGrant, Michael.  Magnificent 12: The Key  –  Juvenile collection
Mack hates doing homework (that’s what golems are for), but it seems that the only way to defeat the Pale Queen and her evil daughter is to learn the magical language of Vargran. Mack and his friends travel to Europe to find the Key, an engraved stone that unlocks the power of Vargran. Can they locate the invisible castle of William “Blisterthöng” MacGuffin, who guards the Key? Mack has less than thirty days to master Vargran and defeat the evil queen. Will the Key be enough? Or is there something else Mack must find in order to save the world?

into the gauntletHaddix, Margaret Peterson.  Into the GauntletJuvenile collection
Throughout the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan Cahill have uncovered history’s greatest mysteries and their family’s deadliest secrets. But are they ready to face the truth about the Cahills and the key to their unmatched power? After a whirlwind race that has taken them across five continents, Amy and Dan face the most the difficult challenge yet.  When faced with a choice that could change the future of the world, can two kids succeed where 500 years worth of famous ancestors failed?

fly by nightHardinge, Frances. Fly By Night Juvenile collection
Taught to read by her father, orphaned book lover Mosca Mye lives in a realm where books are considered dangerous . When a traveling poet-spy passes through her village, Mosca becomes his traveling companion, serving as his uneasy accomplice in a mission that exposes the cutthroat intrigues of her troubled kingdom.  While she tries to judge right from wrong within the complex plots that ensnare her, Mosca discovers that few of the people she meets are as simple as they first seem.

seven keys of balabadHaven, Paul.  The Seven Keys of Balabad Juvenile collection
Balabad, the birthplace of the Brotherhood of Arachosia, an international secret society, is rumored to be the secret hiding place of the grand. It’s also the boring country Oliver Finch calls home. When a sacred carpet is stolen and one of the few friends he has disappears, Oliver is determined to figure out what exactly is going on. In order to do that he’ll have consult with a one-eyed warrior, track down the far-flung members of the Brotherhood, and unlock a centuries-old secret! Suddenly, life in Balabad for Oliver has become a whole lot more interesting . . . and dangerous.

george's secret keyHawking, Lucy.  George’s Secret Key to the Universe Juvenile collection
When George’s new neighbor, Eric, turns out to be a brilliant scientist with a supercomputer, the boy takes an educational journey through the solar system and discovers how interesting outer space can be. A rival scientist, who also happens to be George’s teacher, steals the computer and sends Eric into a black hole, leaving George to save the day.

through the lockHurst, Carol Otis.  Through the Lock  – Juvenile collection
Etta and her brother and sister, wards of the state of Massachusetts in 1840, have been parceled off to separate foster homes. Determined to gather her family back together and create a secure home for them, Etta has run away to find a place where they can live as a family. She encounters Walter, another runaway hiding in a cabin on the New Haven and Northampton Canal. Before she can get her own family together, Etta is caught up in Walter’s problems, which include the bringing a body up a mountain at night, convincing the canal company to hire them as a security team, and catching the vandals who are determined to sabotage the canal.

suite scarlettJohnson, Maureen.  Suite ScarlettTeen collection
Scarlett Martin’s family owns a small hotel in the heart of New York City, and Scarlett lives there with her four siblings. For Scarlett’s fifteenth birthday, she gets the responsibility of caring for the Empire Suite and permanent guest Mrs. Amberson.  Scarlett doesn’t quite know what to make of the C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. Her summer takes a second unexpected turn when she meets a handsome aspiring actor. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deceptions.  Also read the sequel: Scarlett Fever.

forgotten door 2Key, Alexander.  The Forgotten Door Juvenile collection
A boy falls through a mysterious door and finds himself alone in a forest.  Although he is able to talk to animals and read minds, he finds himself in trouble when he cannot communicate with the people surrounding him. Will he ever recover his memory and find a way to unlock the secrets of his life?

eight keysLaFleur, Suzanne.  Eight Keys Juvenile collection
Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Since her parents died when she was young, Elise lives with her loving Uncle and Aunt.  Behind their big house is a barn with eight locked doors on the second floor.  When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her twelfth birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn . . .

mystery of martello towerLanthier, Jennifer.  The Mystery of the Martello Tower  – Juvenile collection
Hazel and Ned are home for summer vacation and looking forward to long, lazy days that include spending time with their father. But when he disappears, their summer plunges into chaos. The babysitter leaves, their apartment is burgled, and two menacing thugs start turning up everywhere. Ned and Hazel try escaping to an island castle belonging to long-lost relatives. As they work to untangle the threads that ensnare their father, they learn of a second secret surrounding their mother’s death years ago. Only by solving both mysteries can they bring their father home.

ruby keyLisle, Holly.  The Ruby Key Juvenile collection
Genna and her brother Dan live in the primitive village, surrounded by danger. Like other humans, they can go out only in daylight, and they have an uneasy truce with the nightlings, creatures of the nearby forest who only come out after dark. All are ruled by Letrin, an arrogant and powerful being who lives underground. But when Genna and Dan venture into the old forest one night, they encounter a Nightling slave who reveals a terrifying secret: their village chief has made a dangerous deal with Letrin, offering the lives of his people in exchange for his own immortality.

sixty eight roomsMalone, Marianne.  The Sixty-Eight RoomsJuvenile collection
Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed deep inside the Chicago Art Institute they are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms. Each room is set in a different historic period, and every detail is perfect. Some might even say, the rooms are magic. Imagine—what if on a field trip, you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you could sneak inside and explore the rooms’ secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind..?

jeremy fink and the meaning of lifeMass, Wendy.  Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life –  Juvenile and Teen collections
Jeremy’s summer takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious wooden box with a note that says it holds the meaning of life arrives in the mail. He’s supposed to open it on his birthday, but the keys are missing, and the box is made so that what’s inside will be destroyed without the keys. Jeremy and his friend Lizzy set off to find them, and they  soon discover that there might be other ways of finding out the meaning of life.

specter keyNation, Kaleb.  Bran Hambric: The Specter Key  – Juvenile collection
Bran Hambric believes that the Farfield Curse is over. But when he discovers a safe-deposit box in his dead mother’s name, Bran’s past comes rushing back. Now he’s on a frightening path that puts everyone he cares about in danger.  When his best friend Astara is kidnapped, Bran will do whatever it takes to save her and prevent the evil mage on his trail from claiming the power of the curse for herself. But will the magic destroy him the way it destroyed his mother?

keys to the kingdom 1Nix, Garth.  The Keys to the Kingdom  – Juvenile & Teen collections
Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins. One mysterious house is the doorway to a very mysterious world — where one boy is about to venture and unlock a number of fantastical secrets.  During a running exercise at school, Arthur Penhaligon collapses from an asthma attack. Upon awakening, he meets a stranger, Mister Monday, who hands Arthur an unusual key which begins a wild adventure. Using the powers of the key, Arthur travels to another realm and battles many evil creatures in a struggle to save his world from a mysterious disease.

sweetlyPearce, Jackson.  Sweetly Juvenile & Teen collections
Years ago, Ansel, Gretchen, and Gretchen’s twin ventured into the woods near their home in search of a witch. After being chased by a monster, only Ansel and Gretchen come out; their sister is never seen again. Their mother dies of grief and their father remarries. And when their father dies, Ansel and Gretchen’s stepmother kicks them out. They find a home with a beautiful chocolatier, but Gretchen’s childhood fears come back to haunt her. With new friend Samuel, she must figure out how to stop this monster and uncover the mystery behind the way it chooses its victims.

Pkey of brahaerro, Bryan.  Amos Daragon; The Key of Braha –  Juvenile collection
Amos survived his first mission, but an encounter with a mysterious girl sends him on his way to Braha, the City of the Dead, where souls await judgment. Amos, now a spirit himself, meets Jerik, a decapitated criminal who carries his head. Jerik says that Braha is overcrowded with spirits; the gods have shut the doors. A key will unlock them, but its missing. Only someone who dies and comes back to life can find it. Will Amos be that someone? Will his ingenuity and intelligence be enough to restore order? And even if Amos finds the key, will he ever return to the land of the living?

greenRoberts, Laura Peyton.  Green  – Juvenile collection
Turning thirteen starts off with a bang for Lily when a present explodes! Soon after, a trio of leprechauns  appear and whisk her away to a land of clover, piskies, a new friend, a cute boy, and lots of glimmering, glittering gold. A world of Green. It turns out that Lily, like her grandmother before her, is next in line to be keeper for the Clan of Green,in charge of all their gold. IF she passes three tests. And she has to pass them. Because if she doesn’t she may never get to go home again…

key to rondoRodda, Emily.  The Key to Rondo –  Juvenile collection
There are three rules to the old, painted music box: Wind the box three times only. Never shut the box when the music is playing. Never move the box before the music stops.  Leo wouldn’t dream of breaking these rules, but does his stubborn cousin Mimi listen? She winds the box four times–and suddenly the paintings on its side come to life and a powerful witch is released. Now it’s up to Leo and Mimi to stop the witch, if only they can find the key to the music box–and the magical world it controls.

magykSage, Angie.  Magyk Juvenile collection
Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son, disappears the night he is born, and is pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow — a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take her into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

invention of hugo cabretSelznick, Brian.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret  –  Juvenile & Teen collections
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

13th signTubb, Kristin O’Donnel.  The 13th Sign  – Juvenile collection
What if there was a 13th zodiac sign?  What if you’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s.  What about the rest of the world?  What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs?  Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives–including her own–depend upon it.

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Everyone I know has at least one key that they can’t identify. These books take into account the questions you might have if you find a mysterious key. Where did it come from? What does it unlock?  What is on the other side of that lock?  If you like keys for the sake of their history, beauty and mystery, try one of these books and imagine what you could unlock with a secret key…

::Kelly::

Booklist: New Mysteries to Solve

 

 Are you a super sleuth or a treasure hunter?  Do you like to follow clues? Decipher a coded message?  Solve a mysterious puzzle?  If that sounds up your alley, try one of these recent mysteries and see how good a detective you might be!

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Recently Released Mysteries (2008-2012)Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook by Mary Amato

First Slurpy is fishnapped, then other things from Mrs. Blackwell’s room start to disappear. Odder still, whoever is committing these crimes leaves a note written in poetry. Edgar has it all covered in his “crime investigation notebook”–but so does Patrick Chen, who has copied Edgar and is trying to solve the case first. Yet as Edgar keenly observes his surroundings, he notices many interesting things about his classmates. The more closely he watches two “suspects,” the more he begins to think they might make pretty good friends. This warm and humorous story puts writing, friendship, and mystery into a short, accessible chapter book.

 

Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset by Tom Angleberger

Tom Angleberger’s latest, loopiest middle-grade novel begins when M’Lady Luggertuck loosens her corset (it’s never been loosened before!), thereby setting off a chain of events in which all the strict rules of Smugwick Manor are abandoned. When, as a result of “the Loosening,” the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Luggertucks look for someone to blame. Is it Horton Halfpott, the good-natured but lowly kitchen boy who can’t tell a lie? Or one of the many colorful cast members in this silly romp of a mystery.

 

Cold in Summer by Tracy Barrett

It’s bad enough that Ariadne’s family just moved to a tiny boring town in the middle of nowhere. But worst of all is that she’s so far away from her best friend. The kids in Dobbin seem nice enough, but none of them really understands how lost and unhappy Ariadne feels. None, that is, but May Butler. She’s an odd, quiet person who wears the strangest old-fashioned clothes and has a spooky habit of appearing and disappearing in the blink of an eye. Despite their differences, there is a bond between the two girls. May, too, knows what it’s like to feel lost.

 

Kepler’s Dream by Juliet Bell

A young girl makes her fractured family whole again with the help of a very special book. When eleven-year-old Ella’s mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at “Broken Family Camp” with her eccentric grandmother, whom she’s never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, but her grandmother seems to care more about her library full of books than she does about her very own granddaughter. But when a rare and beloved book, Kepler’s Dream of the Moon, is stolen from her grandmother’s amazing library, Ella and her new friend Rosie make up their minds to find it. Finding the beautiful book her grandmother loves so much could even be the key to healing Ella’s broken family. An affecting and beautifully written story of family, forgiveness and the wonder of the stars, Kepler’s Dream is a sparkling and memorable debut.

 

Among the Ghosts by Amber Benson

The New Newbridge Academy has a strange, storied history and a gothic atmosphere, and since Noh’s aunt is a teacher there, it’s where Noh will be spending the summer while her father travels for work. Noh, slightly eccentric herself, enjoys exploring the campus, but things get spooky when she meets several other children near an old burned-out dormitory. There shouldn’t be students around in the summer, right? But these kids turn out to be ghosts, and they need Noh’s help. She is the only “realie” who can see them—and, now that the ghosts have started to disappear, the only one who can save them.

 

The Puzzler’s Mansion: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin

Winston Breen is back in another puzzle-filled mystery! Puzzle fanatic Winston Breen and his best friends receive a once-in-a-lifetime invitation–to a weekend of riddles, games and puzzles at a fabulous mansion! Famous musician Richard Overton is giving away valuable prizes and Winston is ready to win. But the ultimate weekend becomes the ultimate mystery when prizes start going missing, and no guests are above suspicion. Can Winston crack the case before the weekend is up? A fast-paced whodunit filled with interactive puzzles and plenty of clever brain-teasers, the latest Winston Breen installment will have readers hooked!

 

Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach

It’s summer and the three Barker brothers—Simon, Henry, and Jack—just moved from Illinois to Arizona. Their parents have warned them repeatedly not to explore Superstition Mountain, which is near their home. But when their cat Josie goes missing, they see no other choice. There’s something unusually creepy about the mountain and after the boys find three human skulls, they grow determined to uncover the mystery. Have people really gone missing over the years, and could there be someone or some thing lurking in the woods? Together with their new neighbor Delilah, the Barker boys are dead-set on cracking the case even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way.

 

The Unknowns: A Math Mystery by Benedict Carey

In a trailer park called Adjacent, next to the Folsom Energy Plant, people have started to vanish, and no one seems to care. At first Lady Di and her best friend, Tom Jones, barely notice the disappearances—until their beloved math tutor, Mrs. Clarke, is abducted, too. Mrs. Clarke has left them clues in the form of math equations that lead them all over the trailer park, through hidden tunnels under “Mount Trashmore,” and into the Folsom Energy Plant itself, where Lady Di and Tom Jones and a gang of other misfits uncover the sordid truth about what’s really happening there.

 

 Vanished by Sheela Chari

Eleven-year-old Neela dreams of being a famous musician, performing for admiring crowds on her traditional Indian stringed instrument. Her particular instrument was a gift from her grandmother—intricately carved with a mysterious-looking dragon. When this special family heirloom vanishes from a local church, strange clues surface: a tea kettle ornamented with a familiar pointy-faced dragon, a threatening note, a connection to a famous dead musician, and even a legendary curse. The clues point all the way to India, where it seems that Neela’s instrument has a long history of vanishing and reappearing. Even if Neela does track it down, will she be able to stop it from disappearing again?

 

The Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar

Laura Horton is different. Not in any noticeable, first-glance kind of way; but inside, she’s equally uncomfortable around the snippy girls in her class and the strange boy, Leon, who just moved in nearby. She’d rather be writing or drawing or spending time with her free-spirited family in their eccentric old house. But Laura and Leon are more alike than they first realize. They’re both outsiders. They both have secrets. And try as she might to avoid him, Laura finds herself drawn to Leon’s quiet boldness as surely as she is driven to find out more about her home’s enigmatic former owner. Together they probe the mysteries of the Visconti House, making an exploration into the past that will change their lives — and open their hearts — forever.

 

The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery by Angie Frazier

Can Suzanna Snow solve the case before it’s too late? A girl’s gone missing. Can Suzanna solve the crime? It is 1905 and young Suzanna works at her family’s inn in Loch Harbor, New Brunswick, where she is trained to be a well-mannered hostess and a charming lady. Suzanna has other ideas for her future–she wants to be a detective. When a young guest goes missing on a stormy summer night, Suzanna’s famous uncle, Detective Bruce Snow, comes to solve the case. But Suzanna learns that not everything is as it seems. With a little help from her friends, can she solve the mystery of the missing girl before her uncle closes the case?

 

The Last Musketeer by Stuart Gibbs

Greg Rich has just been catapulted back through time.  One moment, his parents were selling their family heirlooms to Michel Dinicouer, a mysterious and suspicious curator at the Louvre in Paris — and the next thing Greg knows, he’s in France in 1615.  His parents have come along, too, only they’ve been captured by the King’s Guard and thrown into La Mort, the world’s most dangerous prison.  Now, Greg has to rescue them… but how? By uniting the Three Musketeers.  Greg soon discovers that the three great warriors from Alexander Dumas’s classic novel actually exist — only they’re teenagers as well and haven’t met yet.  Even stranger, Greg might just turn out to be the fourth Musketeer, D’Artagnan.  Together, the Musketeers need to pull off an impossible, death-defying rescue — and unravel the devious plot of Dinicouer as well.

 

The Crossroads: A Haunted Mystery by Chris Grabenstein

Zack, his dad and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn’t over…and Zack is directly in his sights.

 

The Orphan of Awkward Falls by Keith Graves

When thirteen-year-old Josephine moves to Awkward Falls she can’t help but snoop around the dilapidated mansion next door. Inevitably, she is captured by the house’s strange inhabitants: an ancient automaton who serves as a butler, a cat patched together with a few odd parts, and most surprising of all, a boy named Thaddeus Hibble. Meanwhile, Fetid Stenchley the most feared patient in the Asylum for the Dangerously Insane is on the loose after making a dramatic escape, and there is only one thing on his mind…revenge. Unfortunately for Josephine and Thaddeus, he’s headed their way. Can these unlikely friends stop Stenchley before it’s too late? With a penchant for spooky details, surprising twists, and haunting illustrations, Keith Graves delivers a suspenseful and engaging first novel.

 

Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham

Theodore Boone is back in a new adventure, and the stakes are higher than ever. When his best friend, April, disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night, no one, not even Theo Boone–who knows April better than anyone–has answers. As fear ripples through his small hometown and the police hit dead ends, it’s up to Theo to use his legal knowledge and investigative skills to chase down the truth and save April. Filled with the page-turning suspense that made John Grisham a #1 international bestseller and the undisputed master of the legal thriller, Theodore Boone’s trials and triumphs will keep readers guessing until the very end.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny–Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath

In this hilarious chapter book mystery, meet a girl whose parents have been kidnapped by disreputable foxes, and a pair of detectives that also happen to be bunnies! When Madeline gets home from school one afternoon to discover that her parents have gone missing, she sets off to find them. So begins a once-in-a-lifetime adventure involving a cast of unforgettable characters. There’s Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who drive a smart car, wear fedoras, and hate marmots; the Marmot, who loves garlic bread and is a brilliant translator; and many others. Translated from the Rabbit by Newbery Honor-winning author Polly Horvath, and beautifully illustrated by Sophie Blackall, here is a book that kids will both laugh over and love.

 

The Haunting of Nathaniel Wolfe by Brian Keaney

It’s seven o’clock on a cold London evening in 1862, and in a grubby theater down by the docks, Nathaniel Wolfe watches his father—the greatest medium in London—take to the stage. Which of the dead will speak through him tonight? What Nathaniel doesn’t know is that his father is meddling with things he cannot control, and before the night is over Nathaniel will find himself in the middle of a chilling mystery, one that can only be solved from beyond the grave.

 

Fourmile by Watt Key

Twelve-year-old Foster knows in his gut that Dax Ganey, the man dating his widowed mother, is a bad seed. Then a mysterious stranger arrives at their Alabama farm, a former Army Ranger in Iraq rambling across the country, and Foster believes he has found an ally against Dax. The stranger proves a fascinating mentor, full of wisdom and secrets. And Dax soon has reason to resent not just him and Foster but also Foster’s mother. A spurned Dax will be a dangerous enemy, but Foster is increasingly aware that the stranger is just as dangerous, if not more so. From the author of one of the most highly acclaimed children’s survival adventures of the last decade comes this tautly wound new novel reminiscent of classic westerns, about a boy caught in the middle of a clash that may turn out to be his own battle to fight.

 

Legend of the Ghost Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

A thrilling mystery set against a stark landscape and the inspiration of Nome’s real-life dog hero, Balto. Twelve-year-old Tee has just moved to Nome, Alaska, with her writer father and sullen little brother, Jack. Jack isn’t happy about the idea of living in the middle of nowhere, but Tee and her dog Henry are thrilled — so much open space to run around and sniff! But on a walk near their new house, Henry spots something that has him seriously spooked. Tee sees a mysterious shadow, and it seems to be following them. Have they disturbed a restless spirit? And what other secrets might this dark place be holding?

 

Death Cloud: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins by Andrew Lane

It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.

 

The Adventures of Jack Lime by James Leck

Meet Jack Lime, private investigator, who solves problems for his fellow Iona High students. Sometimes he falls for the dames who hire him, sometimes he falls in the river and sometimes he falls asleep (he s narcoleptic). But rest assured that whether he s tracking down a missing banana-seat bike or a kidnapped hamster, or cracking open a trivia tournament betting ring, Lime will follow every lead. Readers will identify with this funny, cynical sleuth who has the makings of a top-notch PI, though his personal life frequently goes awry. In these three stand-alone detective stories, readers will immerse themselves in an offbeat fictional world populated with eccentric characters where everything is not as it seems.

 

The Family Hitchcock by Mark Levin

Finances are tight for the Hitchcock family this year, which means no summer vacation! But siblings Maddy and Benji are secretly delighted to escape the annual torturous ritual of family bonding. Then Dad announces big news: a cost-effective weeklong house swap in Paris, trading places with a French family named the Vadims. But instead of a relaxing European vacation, it quickly becomes clear that something is very off about this house swap. The facts about the Vadims don’t quite add up. Then threatening characters start showing up, demanding a mysterious object. Soon the Hitchcocks are caught in a whirl of intrigue and running for their lives through the streets and over the rooftops of Paris, without even knowing why.

 

Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths Little

After her mother walked out on Shelby Jayne and her dad, Shelby thought she’d never speak to her mamma again. But with her dad leaving the country for work, it turns out she doesn’t have a choice: Shelby has to move back into her mamma’s house, deep in the heart of the Louisiana bayou. Her new classmates tease and torment her, so Shelby’s relieved to finally find a friend in Gwen, a mysterious girl who lives alone on the bayou. But Shelby can’t help wondering if Gwen has something to do with the puzzling messages she finds hidden in the blue bottle tree behind her house. The only person who might be able to explain is her mamma — but Shelby’s not ready to ask. Not yet. It may take a brush with something from the beyond to help Shelby see that the power to put her own ghosts to rest is within her reach.

 

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin

Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy–Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei’s favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister? It’s up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones–and might even pick them clean!

 

The Secret of the Sealed Room: A Mystery of Young Benjamin Franklin by Bailey MacDonald

Indentured servant Patience Martin lives a hard life in 1721 Boston, but things get even harder when her demanding employer is found dead—in a bedroom locked from the inside. Powerful townsmen accuse Patience’s friend, Moll Bacon, of being a witch and the murderer, but with her own future in jeopardy, Patience doesn’t know how she can help prove Moll’s innocence—until she finds a new friend. Ben Franklin is a clever young printer’s apprentice with a fondness for wise aphorisms. Ben risks his own skin to protect Patience, and his cunning and ingenuity are a perfect match for her courage and determination. But will their friendship and teamwork be enough to solve the mystery, clear Moll, and free Patience from a harsh life of servitude?

 

The Homemade Stuffing Caper: Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire by John V. Madormo

Encyclopedia Brown, watch out! Charlie Collier can match you mystery for mystery! Seventh grader Charlie Collier has always been able to solve brain teasers in no time at all. And his favorite books have always been mysteries. So when Charlie dons his father’s old trench coat–the one his mother thought she brought to Goodwill–and a fedora that should have suffered the same fate, he thinks solving mysteries will be as easy as pie. But then Charlie is presented with a big case. A huge one. That involves the entire town. And Charlie needs more than just smarts to crack this case. He’ll need his friend Henry, their client Scarlet, and a class bully who turns out to have some surprising secrets of his own.

Vanishing Acts: A Madison Kincaid Mystery by Phillip Margolin

From tracking down her best friend, who’s nowhere to be found, to secretly helping her attorney father solve a missing-person case, Madison Kincaid is a busy seventh-grade sleuth. Teaming up with new classmate Jake, she hits the sidewalks of Portland, Oregon, determined to find out what’s behind two mysterious vanishing acts.

 

 

The Pickle King by Rebecca Promitzer

A podunk town, a pickle factory, a dead body with one eyeball gone?! Maybe this summer won’t be so boring after all for Bea and her friends. A funny, scary, original debut “caper”! Bea lives in the nowhere town of Elbow, where it rains so much the residents have green mold growing between their toes. Nothing ever happens in Elbow. Its closest claim to fame is a giant pickle factory, owned by Herman, the Pickle King. Herman’s a small-time big shot, a local celebrity…until he turns up dead. And when Bea and Sam stumble across the body–minus one eyeball–in the water-logged basement of a creepy old house, suddenly THEY’RE ones in a pickle! With a mystery to solve, maybe this summer won’t be such a bore after all….

Here Lies Linc by Delia Ray

When 12-year-old Linc Crenshaw decides he wants to go to public school, his professor mom isn’t so happy with the idea. He’s convinced it will be the ticket to a new social life. Instead, it’s a disaster when his mom shows up at their field trip to the local cemetery to lecture them on gravestones, and Linc sees her through his fellow-students’ eyes. He’s convinced his chances at a social life are over until a cemetery-related project makes him sought-after by fellow students he’s not so sure he wants as friends, helps him make a new, genuine friend, and brings to light some information about his family that upends his world.

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt

If it hadn’t been for Lucas’s photographic memory, they might not have remembered the man. It had been almost a year since she and Kari had noticed him copying the famous Rembrandt painting in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. But now in the National Gallery in London, they’re sure it’s the same guy, copying another Rembrandt. What is going on? The International Herald Tribune gives them their answer. A never-before seen Rembrandt painting has been discovered in Amsterdam. The mysterious man must’ve been working on a forgery! Convinced that no one will believe them without more evidence, the teenage sleuths embark on a madcap adventure to find the forger. But is bringing the criminal to justice worth the price of their lives?

 Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.

 The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford

A sweet story of a tree that’s literally filled with secrets. What is your secret? Minty’s neighborhood is full of mysteries. There’s the Witch House, a spooky old farmhouse on the other side of woods from where Minty and her best friend, Paz, live. There’s the Man Bat, a seven-foot-tall half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods. And there are the Mean Boys, David and Troy, who torment Minty for no reason, and her boy-crazy older sister, Thea, who acts weirder and weirder. One day Minty spots a flash in the woods, and when she chases after it, she discovers a new mystery–a Secret Tree, with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood. Secrets like: I put a curse on my enemy. And it’s working. I’m betraying my best friend in a terrible way. No one loves me except my goldfish.

Spellbinder by Helen Stringer

Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It’s a trait she’s inherited from her mother’s side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair. And it’s a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible? It is convenient, though, after Belladonna’s parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed . . . until everything changes. One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air—along with every other ghost in the world. It’s what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it’s all wrong. They may not be living, but they’re not supposed to be gone. With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what’s become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can’t find her way, she’ll lose them again—this time for good.

 

I So Don’t Do Mysteries by Barrie Summy

So here I am spending spring break in California with my best friend, Junie. Our chaperone is a teenager, like us. And soon I’ll get to hang out with the coolest, cutest boy in the Southwest. Life is so good. Except I should tell you that I’m not actually in San Diego for fun. Even though I’m a normal person who likes normal stuff—friends, clothes, the mall—I’m supposed to be solving a mystery, one that involves a rhino heist and a crazy chef. And I have to do it because my supercop mom is counting on me. Did I mention she’s a ghost? A ghost who can make contact with only one person. Me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin. My mom is flunking out of the Academy of Spirits, and if I don’t help her, she’ll be banished to an afterlife for ghost failures. But…I so don’t do mysteries.

 

Benjamin Franklinstein Meets the Fright Brothers by Larry David Tuxbury

Last month, Benjamin Franklin came back from the dead and moved into Victor Godwin’s downstairs apartment. Since then, life has gotten even weirder. Vampires are stalking Philadelphia, a strange pair of bike shop owners are after Ben, and a shadowy figure known only as the Emperor may be plotting it all. Together, Ben, Victor and Scott face some baffling questions. Why was Ben really awakened? Who is the Emperor? And are vampires really stalking downtown Philadelphia? The fate of the city – and perhaps the word – hangs in the balance!

 

Stolen by Vivian Vande Velde

The same day that the villagers of Thornstowe finally hunt down a witch with a reputation for stealing children, a 12-year-old appears in the woods with no memory of her past. Is there a connection between Isabelle, the girl who doesn’t know who she is, and the girl the witch stole six years earlier? One of the few things Isabelle remembers is a chant that keeps running through her head: “Old as dirt, dirty as dirt. Ugly as sin, mean as sin. Don’t let the old witch catch you!” Could Isabelle have been stolen by the old witch of the woods, or has she lost her memory as the result of an accident? And what about the baby the witch stole right before the villagers attacked? Did either the witch or the baby survive the fire the villagers set?

 

The Jaguar Stones: The End of the World Club by J&P Voelkel

With the end of the Mayan calendar fast approaching, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy and his new friend Lola, the modern Maya girl who saved his life in the perilous jungle, are racing against time to outwit the twelve Lords of Death.  Following the trail of the conquistadors, their quest takes them back to the wild heart of Spain – a forgotten land steeped in legend, superstition and ever more bizarre tourist festivals.  With a pack of hellhounds on their heels and the cape-twirling Count Antonio de Landa in hot pursuit, the teens must face madness and betrayal, bluff and double-bluff, to uncover the terrible secrets of the long-lost Yellow Jaguar.  But no matter where they run, all roads lead to Xibalba. There, in the cold and watery Maya underworld, we finally discover why only Max Murphy can save the world from the villainous Lords of Death.

 

The Mystery of the Missing Everything by Ben H. Winters

There has been a shocking crime at Mary Todd Lincoln Middle School. In a glass case in the front hall, a trophy—the trophy, the first trophy ever won in the school’s lackluster competitive history—has been stolen. Even more horrifying, an outraged Principal Van Vreeland has canceled everything fun until the trophy is back, including the eighth graders’ long-awaited, once-in-a-lifetime field trip to Taproot Valley. Rock climbing, ropes courses, ecology hikes, s’mores…all gone! Luckily, Bethesda Fielding is on the case. As self-appointed sleuth extraordinaire, Bethesda’s confident she’ll be able to track down the culprit in no time and save her class trip! Except it seems like the more she searches for answers, the more mysteries she reveal. Can Bethesda solve this baffling mystery or are the eighth graders doomed for a Week of a Thousand Quizzes instead?

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Booklist by Julie!

So there you have it.  Mysteries  featuring a cast of detectives across countries, time periods, states of being and knowledge bases.  All they have in common is a desire to follow the clues wherever they lead.  Can you beat them at their own game?  Read and find out!

::Kelly::

Old Favorite: We Dare Not Go A-Hunting

Time for a bit of local flavor!  This week’s Old Favorite is We Dare Not Go A-Hunting, by Charlotte MacLeod. Although the setting is fictional, it’s said to be based on Martha’s Vineyard, a place well known in this area!  If you want to read a mystery full of clues and characters, set on the historically accurate version of a local landmark, this book is for you!

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Molly Bassett lives on Netaquid Island, somewhere off the coast New England.   It’s 1932, and the island has been in conflict since the previous summer, when the daughter of one of the summer visitors vanished.   Molly was one of the islanders who spent more than a week searching for Annette Sotherby, everyone growing more and more worried about the six year old’s fate.  When a ransom note was discovered, and the clues in it followed until the little girl was found, everyone on the island thought that the Sotherby family would be grateful, and that life would return to normal.  They didn’t count on Mr. Sotherby’s resentment of the islanders, his determination to make everyone suffer for what happened to his daughter, and the mistrust between the islanders and the summer folk.

Times are hard, and even though the islanders are fairly self-sufficient, the fact that the summer folk are bringing in all their own people, even for the most minimal jobs, has led to financial problems for almost everyone. Molly’s family could use some extra income; so when she hears that one of the summer folk, Mr. Truell, is looking for anyone, even an islander, to look after his son Sammy, she takes the job.  Sammy is a handful, but Molly has spent years minding her little brother Mike, so she knows just exactly how to deal with a rambunctious child. On her first day, Molly meets Barbara, who has come to the island with the newly returned Sotherby family as a babysitter for Annette.

Molly’s not quite as sure what to think about Annette, who manipulates everyone in her household–from the servants to her parents to the doctor they brought along to care for her flights of fancy–into doing exactly what she wants.  When Annette throws a temper tantrum, everyone panics and rushes to do her bidding.  Annette talks constantly about visiting the fairies the prior summer, and doesn’t seem to be “quite right in the head”, according to Mr. Truell. (Told to Molly completely in confidence, of course.) Since the Truells and the Sotherbys are friends though, Molly spends a lot of time with Barbara and Annette while she watches Sammy.

The servants of the summer folk are suspicious of all the islanders, even a teenage girl.  Molly starts defending her fellow Netaquidders to the summer folk, thinking that no one on the island would be capable of kidnapping a child for a week.  But with a little more knowledge about what happened,  she realizes that only someone familiar with the island and all its hiding spots oulc have done it. And once that thought is in her head, all Molly can do is think about the possible suspects.

Was it one of her fellow islanders?  It doesn’t seem possible that it was one of the summer folk; they don’t know the island well enough.  But how could someone in the close-knit island community keep such a secret?  Where could Annette have been kept in secret for a week?  Where did the ransom go? Molly pours over the possibilities, even as she keeps track of Sammy and befriends Tom Nevers, a friend of her brothers.

But when Molly is the horrified witness to another kidnapping, this time of both Annette and Sammy, she knows that in order to solve the current kidnapping, she has to get to the bottom of what happened the summer before.  Molly is determined to find both children, even if it means putting herself in danger.  She has to, in order to  clear her name, and solve the mystery of Netaquid Island.

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Although We Dare Not Go A-Hunting is not as well-known as some of the other books we’ve featured as Old Favorites, it is a fun book to read.  (In fact, unlike most of the other books, there’s only one cover!  I think that’s a first.)  Charlotte MacLeod is probably more well-known for her adult mysteries, many of them set in Boston.  She lived all over the Boston area though, and was actually a library trustee in Sudbury.  We Dare Not Go A-Hunting was the last juvenile mystery she wrote though, and was published in 1980.

My favorite part of We Dare Not Go A-Hunting is the flavor of Massachusetts that runs throughout the whole book.  There are also many details of life during The Great Depression, the way people spoke out on the islands, and how people managed to pull things together from very little. The sense of community is also very strong, and the feeling of two very separate life-styles on a very small island.

If you like mysteries and are going to visit Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, try reading We Dare Not Go A-Hunting first. Compare it to what you find there, and think about what life would have been like on the island without air conditioning, electricity and immediate transportation.  I’d recommend this book to kids in grades 4 to 7 who like mysteries and Massachusetts.

::Kelly::